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Sugar Alcohol

What is Sugar Alcohol?

Sugar alcohols are defined as the sum of saccharide derivatives in which a hydroxyl group replaces a ketone or aldehyde group.

  • Sugar is a crystalline substance generally called sweet.
  • It is a soluble carbohydrate that is used in most foods.
  • It is comprised of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon.
  • Numerous sugar types are available that are obtained from various sources.
  • One of the basic forms of sugars is monosaccharides that contain fructose, galactose, and glucose.
  • Sugar as a food source is used as a disaccharide namely lactose and maltose.
  • Sugar alcohol is derived from sugar is an organic compound that comprehends a class of polyols. They may occur naturally or they are produced in industries.
  • Sugar alcohols are organic compounds which are derived from sugar that comprehends a class of polyols.
  • It is neither alcohol nor sugar as the name suggests.
  • Sugar alcohols are water-soluble, white solids which occur naturally and also can be produced in industries. These water-soluble solids are used in various food products commercially.
  • They are used in place of table sugar, and used as sweeteners and thickeners.
  • Xylitol is a popular sugar alcohol which possesses similar properties as that of sucrose in terms of its appearance and sweetness.

Table of Contents

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Common Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols derived from disaccharides but both disaccharides and monosaccharides can form sugar alcohols. Some common sugar alcohols are listed below:

        • Xylitol
        • Ribitol
        • Glycerol
        • Erythritol
        • Threitol
        • Volemitol
        • Isomalt
        • Maltitol
        • Lactitol
        • Sorbitol
        • Galactitol
        • Fucitol
        • Iditol
        • Inositol

Uses of Sugar Alcohol

        • Sugar alcohols are used in the food industry as sweeteners and thickeners. In commercial foodstuffs, it is commonly used in place of table sugar.
        • One of the biggest problems faced by consuming an excessive amount of sugar is tooth decay. But consumption of sugar alcohol does not cause tooth decay. For instance, chewing gums manufacturers use Xylitol in their products. It is used to constrain oral bacteria which prevents tooth decay.
        • Sugar alcohols lower the number of calories present in food products. It also helps in reducing weight.
        • It can also be used to regulate glycemic index, by reducing carbohydrates rate.


1. Do sugar alcohols count as sugar?
Unlike artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are a kind of carbohydrates and cane sugar, but not as much as sugar, which increases blood sugar levels. In your overall meal plan you will need to count the carbohydrates and calories from sugar alcohols.

2. What does sugar alcohol mean?
Sugar alcohols are additives that are also known as polyols and used as sweeteners and bulking agents. They occur naturally in food and come from vegetable items like fruits and berries. These contain less calories (about half to one-third less calories) than normal sugar, as a sugar substitute.

3. What foods have sugar alcohol in them?
Mannitol occurs naturally in pineapples, olives, asparagus, cabbage, and sweet potatoes. Sorbitol is found in fruits and vegetables, naturally. Xylitol is also known as “wood sugar” and naturally occurs in wheat, corn, fruit, vegetables, cereals, mushrooms and some cereals.

4. Is Sorbitol the same as sugar alcohol?
Sugar alcohol is a sugar which is attached to an alcohol group. They include erythritol, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol — their “ol” suffix defines them. Because of their poor absorption, they can cause gas or diarrhoea if too many sugar alcohols are ingested.

5. Is alcohol a sugar alcohol?
Sugar alcohols are neither alcohols nor sugars. They are carbohydrates with a chemical structure that partially resembles sugar and partially resembles alcohol because, as alcoholic drinks, they do not contain ethanol. Most alcohols in sugar are less sweet than sucrose; maltitol and xylitol are almost as sweet as saccharose.

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1 Comment

  1. Very good subject and informative data , thanks for publishing

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